When Real Madrid recently announced Christiano Ronaldo’s transfer from Manchester United for £80 million, they were not only bargaining for the footballing skills of the world and European player of the year, but also the whole Ronaldo ‘brand’. Ronaldo is recognized internationally as a household name successfully marketing brands like Nike and Fuji Xerox, but also indirectly marketing the lasted fashions, accessories (many of his own CR7 products) and grooming products along with tanning and waxing his body.
Like David Beckham, the Ronaldo ‘brand’ and avant-garde image allow heterosexual men to engage with ‘metrosexual’ fashion and grooming products. Yet metrosexuality and men’s personal adornment can often be problematic because it openly invites a homoerotic gaze whilst also entering the feminised realm of consumption. In order to avoid anxieties over sexuality, and still allow men to consume these ‘metrosexual’ products without threatening their ‘straight’ masculinity, the Ronaldo ‘brand’ continues to align itself with stereotypical masculine attributes such money, fame and sexual prowess. This provides us then, with an interesting glimpse of the changing face of contemporary men and masculinities and the continued allegiance to more conventional masculine scripts.
Masculinity and Consumption
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Cristiano Ronaldo is the real deal
Once again in ‘Terminator Salvation’, Skynet and its army of Terminators threaten humanity with extinction. Set in post–apocalyptic 2018, the heroes of the film are not surprisingly both men – John Connor and Marcus Wright – who are fighting predominantly male-body inspired Terminators. Hollywood’s use of men as action heroes is nothing new (e.g. Sylvester Stallone, John Wayne), but what is particularly concerning is its continued fascination with idealized forms of men and masculinity. For example, men tend to be depicted as physically and emotionally tough, courageous, unfazed in the face of death and predominantly heterosexual. Such portrayals often serve as reference points for men to construct and regulate appropriate masculine behaviours whilst continuing to sustain conventional notions of gender difference. Unfortunately though, representing men in such narrow terms fails to embrace men’s own lived experiences and helps to sustain the marginalization of other masculinities and women.
Read the Guardian film review
Read more about idealised masculinities
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Tagged Alternative Masculinities, Gender, Hegemonic Masculinity, Heterosexuality, Idealised Masculinity, John Connor, Marcus Wright, Masculinity, Men, Skynet, Terminator, Terminator Salvation